Things go from bad to worse slowly, folks, and that’s especially true if you currently have the misfortune of owning a diesel vehicle. You see, according to AAA, the national average price of a gallon of diesel is now $5.51. That’s good enough for the all-time record. In fact, it’s the fifth record in the last five days. She’s up three cents since yesterday, alone. Not good. Still, diesel is up $2.41 from a year ago.
Things aren’t much better when you look at gasoline, either. The average price of a gallon of regular gas is now $4.28. That’s also three cents more than yesterday. We are now just six cents away from breaking the current gas price record set on March 11 of this year. Compare today’s number to the average from a year ago, and it shot up $1.34.
On top of all this, natural gas prices are what’s more very high, according to Reuters, largely due to high demand at power plants that burn natural gas. We just can’t catch a break, man. You can thank climate change for this!
US natural gas prices are surging, with the benchmark futures contract rising to a 13-year high of $8.74 per million British thermal units, at a time when the price of that fuel is trending to fall due to lack of demand in the spring.
But analysts say a number of factors have combined to push up the cost of gasoline, which has risen about 90% since the beginning of March. This is what is happening:
Simply put, it’s hotter than normal in many parts of the United States. Power generators rely on gas to produce electricity, which consumers and businesses use to cool buildings.
The weather in Houston, the largest city in Texas, is expected to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) over the weekend, or about 15 degrees F higher than normal for this time of year.
Cooling demand in Northern California also spiked earlier this week, with people responding by turning on air conditioners. Spot prices, the cost of buying gas in specific locations, soared in several places, including the benchmark Henry Hub index in Louisiana, as well as in California, Pennsylvania and Chicago.
The gas market is caught up in the frenzy that has hit oil, fuel and coal markets as countries scramble to ensure they have enough reliable power following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of crude oil and fuel and is also the largest exporter of natural gas.
With fewer Russian energy exports, countries in Europe and elsewhere are trying to secure supplies.
Spring is the optimal time for natural gas utilities to store gas in preparation for the cold months that are two seasons away. But that hasn’t happened, in part because of growing demand abroad and concerns about a further squeeze on global energy supplies.
Everything is wrong. Even things we didn’t know were bad are bad.
And with that, let’s take a look at who is paying the most and the least for gas across the country.
Here are the highest average gas prices in the country in order of highest price for a regular gallon:
- California – $5.79 Regular | $5.98 Medium | $6.11 premium | $6.50 Diesel
- Hawaii – $5.28 Regular | $5.50 Medium | $5.74 Premium | $5.83 Diesel
- Nevada – $5.12 Regular | $5.34 Medium | $5.54 Premium | $5.47 Diesel
- Washington – $4.77 Regular | $4.97 Medium | $5.15 Premium | $5.67 Diesel
- Oregon – $4.69 (pleasant) Regular | $4.93 Medium | $5.14 Premium | $5.56 Diesel
Here is the lowest average price of gasoline in the country in order of lowest price per gallon of regular:
- Georgia – $3.79 regular | $4.16 Medium | $4.50 premium | $5.10 Diesel
- Missouri – $3.87 Regular | $4.12 Medium | $4.40 premium | $5.19 Diesel
- Arkansas – $3.88 Regular | $4.18 Medium | $4.49 Premium | $5.27 Diesel
- Mississippi – $3.88 Regular | $4.18 Medium | $4.52 premium | $5.17 Diesel
- Oklahoma – $3.88 Regular | $4.17 Medium | $4.38 premium | $5.30 Diesel